Unless you’ve had personal experience with divorce, you don’t realize how devastating it is. These suggestions on how to stop a divorce are inspired by a conversation with a friend.
If you can’t stop a divorce, you can learn how to recover and heal from the trauma. In Divorce: Overcome the Overwhelm and Avoid the Six Biggest Mistakes – Insights from Personal Divorce Coaches, Pegotty Cooper and Randall R. Cooper help readers avoid the six biggest mistakes people make in divorce. They describe the role of divorce attorneys /divorce lawyers, and teach ways to become more empowered in your decision making while getting divorced. These authors also offer tools to face your divorce with courage and dignity, and move from feeling overwhelmed to feeling confident and in control.
“My daughter’s divorce has torn our family apart,” said a reader on How to Make a Life After Divorce. “I can’t believe how it’s affected my relationships with my other daughters, my husband, and even my friends! My daughter says if she had known how badly her divorce would hurt everyone, she would have stopped it.”
I know stopping a divorce is easier said than done, especially when one partner is determined to leave. How can you force him or her to stay? You can’t.
But you can learn as much as possible about saving unhappy marriages and repairing broken relationships.
Can You Stop a Divorce?
Don’t believe it if an article, book, or marriage therapist guarantees that you can save your marriage! There are no guarantees when it comes to marriage and divorce. These are just a few suggestions, based on my conversation with my elderly friend about her daughter’s divorce.
Be honest about your intentions
Have you said, “I want to stop our divorce” to your partner? That might be your first step. Sometimes pride or fear gets in the way of being honest about our feelings. Things seem to spiral out of our control, and it feels like it’s too late to put the brakes on. But it may not be too late, if you’re honest about your feelings.
What has changed between now and your first thoughts of divorce? Talk about that with your partner. How are you different, how is he different? What is making you re-evaluate the divorce? Have you made rash statements or jumped to impulsive conclusions – do you have regrets? Swallow your pride, allow yourself to be vulnerable, and share your thoughts.
Need marriage help? Get FREE relationship advice from Marriage Coach Mort Fertel.
Another question to ask yourself is if you really, truly want to stay married – or if you’re scared of starting over on your own. Read Marriage Advice From a Wife Who Stayed Married Too Long.
What is your role in this divorce – and your marriage? My friend’s daughter denies she had any responsibility in the divorce (her husband left her). He has become the bad guy in the family, and everybody blames him for leaving the marriage. Few family members see any fault in the daughter, which is understandable because they love her. The family members that have talked to the husband actually understand why he is leaving. He isn’t sharing his point of view with anyone else.
Can you see how complicated divorce gets? It’s mind-boggling.
You can’t stop a divorce when one partner leaves and refuses to try. But, you can look inward and try to figure out what role you played in the breakdown of your marriage. Stop denying, and start listening to what your spouse is telling you. There is some kernel of truth there – even if it’s just the perception of truth. That is, your spouse may feel you did this or said that, even if you didn’t. And those feelings are just as real as if you had actually done it.
Talk to a divorce mediator
This may be a good step for couples who aren’t sure they want a divorce, don’t want to go to marriage counseling, but need an impartial third party to help them decide about their future.
A mediator is different than an attorney or a divorce lawyer; a mediator focuses on identifying both your interests, finding common ground, and finding a fair settlement. Mediation can bring you and your partner together for an objective, thoughtful, calm discussion about your marriage and future.
A mediator won’t focus on stopping your divorce, but his or her presence and guidance may help you see your marriage in a different light. It depends on the mediator, of course – some are more helpful than others.
Even if you have a mediator, you may still need to hire a divorce lawyer. It depends on your situation. Even if you don’t think you’ll need to hire a divorce lawyer for the whole process, you might still want to consult one – especially if you’re concerned about money or have complicated legal and financial issues.
In writing this article, I realize there is no way to stop a divorce if one partner is determined to leave. There are no tricks or tips on making a marriage work when one spouse doesn’t want to be married anymore. The only thing you can do is try to make the divorce as smooth and painless as possible – which may require sacrifice, humility, and acceptance of what is.
For more thoughts on divorce, read When Your Husband Wants a Divorce – But Won’t Leave.
I welcome your thoughts on how to stop a divorce, but I can’t offer advice or counseling. Nevertheless, it may help you to share your experience with divorce.
My prayer is that you find a way to stop the divorce and rebuild the marriage. May you experience the peace and joy only God can bring.